I had a great experience Saturday commuting to work. I normally only ride on Hawthorne from PV to my office in Torrance in the very early morning hours because of the traffic. There are many other routes I can take to work even though Hawthorne is the fastest, and I never object to spending a few extra minutes in the saddle before the onslaught of the workday.
Yesterday, however, I had a client appointment at 1:00 PM and it was already 12:15. There would barely be enough time to get to the office and change unless I took Hawthorne on a sunny SoCal Saturday afternoon. From the top of the Hill to my office, which is just before Del Amo on Hawthorne, I took the lane. The only place I edged over to make way for traffic was on the section of Hawthorne after PV Drive North where there is a nice wide section that allows cars to pass safely at speed.
All the way on Hawthorne the traffic was incredibly dense. At first I was apprehensive, but I just took the whole right lane, and rather than scooting up the side when I caught a red light so that I could be first off the line when it turned green, I patiently waited in the car line for the light to change. The result was awesome. I had zero conflicts and didn’t even try to hammer to “keep up with the flow” which would have been impossible anyway. I’m not sure if it was because weekend traffic is less angry than weekday commuter traffic, or if this is really how “take the lane” works most of the time, but it certainly raised my confidence level and left me feeling like an equal on the road rather than a hated obstacle.
Vehicular cyclists believe that bikes are vehicles and therefore entitled to use roadways without being forced into riding like gutter bunnies, or having to navigate crazy-ass bike lanes that stop after a mile or that scrunch you into the door zone.
A good experience like Saturday gets me a lot closer to seeing it from the vehicular cycling point of view.